Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Review

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 14 January 2024

Reviewed by Gemma Gibson


credit Matt Crockett

Combine an important tale with catchy songs, lots of laughs and drag queens, and you’ve got the perfect musical – and that’s Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

In the small city of Sheffield everyone knows Jamie New is special. And he has a big secret to tell – he wants to be a drag queen. As Year 11 comes to a close, he wants to wear a dress to prom. 

Based on true events Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a story for today, exploring how to be your authentic, perfect self with both support and hardship along the way. 

I saw the musical for the first time when it came to Southampton Mayflower a couple of years ago, with legendary Layton Williams leading the show, so I was really excited to watch it again with a completely new cast and feel.

Ivano Turco is the latest Jamie New, and he is a star. With a velvety voice, flawless dance moves and hilarious one-liners, he straight away brought his own flair and energy to the show. I spent a lot of the time admiring (and jealous!) how he moved in those famous red stilettos too.

The entire cast is perfection. I recognised a few names on the bill so I was already expecting a good show and it didn’t disappoint. The characters are already so well written, it was great watching the actors put their stamp on it. 

Drag Queen legend Loco Chanelle (played by John Partidge) and iconic trio Laika Virgin, Sandra Bollock and Tray Sophisticay (Anthony Gyde, Garry Lee and David Mcnair) steal the show with their life lessons wrapped in sparkle. They wear flamboyant costumes with the fierce drag queen attitude to match. The Legend of Loco Chanelle (and the Blood Red Dress) is a personal scene favourite. 

Jamie’s loving mother Margaret, played by Rebecca McKinnis, received one of the biggest rounds of applause on opening night, leaving the audience wet-eyed and wanting more after her powerful ballad He’s My Boy. Ray, Margaret’s best friend, is a hilarious addition to the show, played expertly by Shobna Gulati. 

Everybody’s Talking about Jamie is brilliant for its upbeat and emotionally charged song catalogue, fun dance scenes and constantly changing set. It is also brilliant for bringing very modern challenges of identity and ‘being different’ to the stage, as well as dating and friendship. 

Dealing with obstacles like realist teacher Miss Hedge and school bully Dean (Giovanna Fletcher and Jordan Ricketts), makes this story eye-opening and relatable for young people. Watching Jamie conquer his demons and step into the spotlight, complete with a high heel, is an inspiration. 

On opening night at Southampton Mayflower Everybody’s Talking About Jamie received a well-deserved standing ovation. This is a musical that will make you laugh, cry and root for the superstar that is Jamie New.